By Spencer Jacobson, Staff Writer
Joanna Pryor, the university’s athletic director, was recognized for her contributions to Cowley College’s athletic department and was inducted into the Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame last weekend.
Pryor spent two years at Cowley as a volleyball player from 1996-1997 and then went on to spend eight years as the college’s head volleyball coach from 2001-2008.
Pryor said she was stunned and honored to find out she would be inducted into the Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame.
“There are a lot of good people in that hall of fame and a lot of people that I know. I joked the other day that my opening comment would be ‘Boy they’ll put anybody in this thing,’ but I know that’s not true,” she said.
During Pryor’s time as Cowley’s head volleyball coach, the team had an overall record of 218-93-3.
As coach, Pryor led the team to three conference championships, four district championships, a runner-up finish at the national tournament, and a third place finish at the national tournament.
Pryor herself was named District Coach of the Year four of her seasons as head coach.
Despite her achievements, Pryor said the induction still came as a shock.
“I have always enjoyed what I have done. I have always enjoyed coaching and I have enjoyed being in administration here at Newman so I never sit back and go, ‘I was awesome,’” she said.
Though Pryor is happy with her position now, she said that there are aspects of coaching that she misses.
“I miss watching student-athletes grow and become leaders as they get older, seeing who emerges on the court as a leader, and getting them to play together as a team. That is something that I really enjoyed and I loved to watch evolve,” she said.
Pryor said that she sees similarities between her time as a volleyball coach and her job now as the university’s athletic director.
“I try to involve everyone in what is happening. If we are going to make a decision, it is not just going to be me making a decision. We are going to do it as a team. That is one thing that I think has carried over,” she said.
Pryor said that after many years of working in athletics, this honor means the world.
“It is something that you don’t think about until it’s happening, and I am sure afterward and during it is going to mean even more. I am stunned about it, of course, honored, and I am very excited to go back,” Pryor said.
PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, Newman Athletics